You can concoct the best marinades ever and have your BBQ timing down perfectly. But when you're cooking carne, a good cut really makes a difference. Here's where to get it.
Sausage Partners Co-Owner Lorraine Deming
1378 Queen East, at Greenwood, 416-778-6328, sausagepartners.com.
WHO: Though Lorraine and Kyle Deming are responsible for some of the best wurst in town, there's more to these real-life partners than sausage. You can join their Meat Club for as little as $60 a month and get regular boxes of "sausage, bacon and a mix of what we think is good or new." Too lazy to set up the ol' barbie? You provide the the booze, the sides and the plates and Kyle will come over and roast a 40-pound pig for $400 in your backyard or parking lot. Want to impress a foodie on her birthday? Gift certificates for classes on sausage-making (July 21) and whole hog butchery (July 28) go for $95.
'CUE THIS: house-made links like beef with garlic pepper; spicy pork Italian-style; Moroccan merguez; subtle veal and heirloom tomato; ready-to-go fish cakes made from smoked organic salmon and local lake fish; house-butchered Berkshire-Tamworth pork chops and capicola butt chops; pre-formed grass-fed beef burgers seasoned only with salt and pepper.
Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 am to 7 pm, Sunday 10:30 am to 6 pm. Closed Monday, holidays.
481 Church, at Maitland, 416-923-5600; 1636 Bayview, at Manor, 416-485-5620, cumbraes.com.
WHO: Not only does the Rolls Royce of Toronto butcher shops grow most of its own meat, but it's custom cut, dry-aged and smoked in-house as well.
'CUE THIS: Pulled Berkshire pork burgers; butterflied legs of lamb marinated in Dijon mustard and lemon; whole brined chickens in lime and Sriracha hot sauce; pulled chicken sausages; butterflied quail in lemony molasses; brined pork chops with apple and sage.
Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday 11 am to 5 pm (Church); Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday 10:30 am to 5:30 pm (Bayview). Closed some holidays.
857 Bloor West, at Roxton, 416-534-7122, mybutcher.ca.
WHO: Family-run Bloordale indie institution known for its Mennonite free-range chickens and eggs, house-made sausage and prepared frozen entrees like hormone- and antibiotic-free pot pies, tourtière and beef bourguignon.
'CUE THIS: Forty-day- aged naturally raised steaks; gluten- and filler-free burgers like lamb, chicken, turkey, bison and the inevitable beef; venison chops; old-school Barese sausages just like they make them back in the old country; pre-assembled kebabs.
Monday to Friday 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday noon to 3 am. Closed some holidays.
Cattlemen's Meat Market
1538 Queen West, at Fuller, 416-537-8454.
WHO: Parkdale knows cheap. The meat this 75-year-old family-owned shop sells might not come with a pedigree, but it's half the price of its nearby fancy-pants competitors. Bonus: marrow shanks, smoked cows' feet and bones for the family hound.
'CUE THIS: Triple-A strip loins and rib-eyes; real-deal spare ribs, not those puny baby back affairs; house-made hot Italian sausage; partially boned chicken thighs.
Tuesday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Closed Monday, holidays.
R. Jeanette Martin
565 Queen West, at Denison; 298 Eglinton West, at Avenue Rd, 416-674-2642, thehealthybutcher.com.
WHO: One of the first of the new breed of butchers who respect the provenance of their product, Tara Longo and Mario Fiorucci's urban oasis looks to reconnect with the land. Most everything's organic - whether certified or not - and priced closer to a supermarket than a boutique.
'CUE THIS: Korean-style marinated Miami beef ribs; burgers like the Popeye - extra-lean ground beef mixed with spinach and cottage cheese; house-made beef, beer and jalapeño sausages; whole flattened chickens à la Greek; sustainable yellow pickerel from Lake Erie and trout from Lake Huron.
Monday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm (Queen); Monday to Friday 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm (Eglinton). Closed some holidays.